Party Lines

Ed Gillett

03 August 2023
464 pages


A Guardian Guide Cultural Book of the Year 2023
An Irish Times Music Book of the Year 2023
'A deep, engrossing history' The Observer
'A fascinating deep dive' Jeremy Deller

From the illicit reggae blues dances and acid-rock free festivals of the 1970s, through the ecstasy-fuelled Second Summer of Love in 1988, to the increasingly corporate dance music culture of the post-Covid era, Party Lines is a groundbreaking new history of UK dance music, exploring its pivotal role in the social, political and economic shifts on which modern Britain has been built.

Taking in the Victorian moralism of the Thatcher years, the far-reaching restrictions of the Criminal Justice Act in 1994, and the resurgence of illegal raves during the Covid-19 pandemic, Party Lines charts an ongoing conflict, fought in basement clubs, abandoned warehouses and sunlit fields, between the revolutionary potential of communal sound and the reactionary impulses of the British establishment. Brought to life with stunning clarity and depth, this is social and cultural history at its most immersive, vital and shocking.


'Excellent' The Sunday Times
'Reminds us why the dance floor matters . . . fascinating' Telegraph

Ed Gillett’s excellent history of UK dance culture, moves beyond the saucer-eyed clichés of the raver’s epiphany and towards a sharper sort of revelation . . . the politics of dancing expertly laid bare.
A fascinating deep dive into dance music's uneasy relationship with the establishment.
Engrossing history . . . a wide and deep undertaking